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BMW Active E – Click above for high-res image gallery

Starting this fall, German automaker BMW will lease approximately 700 of its 1 Series-based ActiveE electric coupes for $499 a month. The lease is for 24 months, with $2,250 due at signing, and will be available in six markets in the U.S.: the New York metropolitan area, Boston, San Francisco, Sacramento, San Diego and Los Angeles. Reservations for the battery-powered Bimmer kick off this summer.

Despite that, BMW North America chairman and chief executive officer, Jim O'Donnell, told the Detroit News that he's "far more optimistic" about diesel vehicles boosting the automaker's U.S. market share than electric vehicles (EVs) and added that the U.S. government should cancel its $7,500 tax credit for electrified autos:
I believe in a free economy. I think we should abolish all tax credits. What they are doing is putting a bet on technology, which is not appropriate. As a taxpayer, I am not sure this is the right way to go.
But that's not all that O'Donnell had to say. The CEO continued on, reportedly telling the Detroit News that:
[EVs] won't work for most people. For at least 90 percent and maybe more of the population, [an EV] won't work [at the current battery range].
Ouch. Harsh words for sure. Does this mean that the i3, BMW's upcoming electric vehicle, is being set up to fail?



Photos copyright ©2011 Drew Phillips / AOL

[Source: Detroit News]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 39 Comments
      harlanx6
      • 4 Years Ago
      The Germans are talking out of both side of their faces. They play down the market demand for EVs while developing them with all haste. It's only been a year or 2 ago the VW boss stated that it would be decades before the market was ready for EVs. I knew then it was just marketing. He knows better. EVs work extremely well in urban environments, where most people reside. I do support his thrust towards highly efficient diesels. I support a multi-pronged assault against the importation of petroleum products. Highly efficient diesels use much less fuel, and a an interim solution for those rural dwellers who EVs don't really fit that well in their present state of development. I look forward to EV development making them superior in every way to carbon burners (including cost of production). It's going to take patience, apparently.
      erhcanadian
      • 4 Years Ago
      With an attitude like that, it's no wonder the government needs to offer tax credits! The companies aren't concerned about oil independence, so the government has to drive change. He should just be glad the government isn't banning petroleum fueled cars.
        Ford Future
        • 4 Years Ago
        @erhcanadian
        Yes, auto industry just want's to focus on horsepower, well that's nice in an imaginary world. But, we've seen NO Increase in production from Saudi Arabia, and this is the second time I know of where they promised to produce more, and then didn't come through. - Global Warming, Yes, the Koch brothers coal business and tar sand money doesn't believe, but has anyone taken a poll in TEXAS lately, as it burns to a crisp and dries up? First California, now Texas, what state is next?
      • 4 Years Ago
      So I guess that BMW now opposes the massive tax incentives available to diesel buyers in the EU on the principle of the "free economy". I'm sure they've put out a press release calling for an end to those incentives, right? Am I right? Anyone? Bueller?
        JakeY
        • 4 Years Ago
        AFAIK, Europe gives huge subsidies for diesel, which is why it's even viable and preferred. The US also gives huge subsidies for biofuels of all types. We also subsidize oil too. I would be interesting if we ended all subsidies, including external factors like protecting oil sources/shipping lanes (or make the companies pay for them). He knows that won't happen anytime soon, but cutting off the plug-in credit is relatively easy to do given it is quite new.
        Rotation
        • 4 Years Ago
        Or the thousands that were applied to their Diesel vehicles in the US too until January 1st, 2011. He's just spouting convenient nonsense.
      Pete K
      • 4 Years Ago
      I think this guy should read this article... http://green.autoblog.com/2011/04/24/chevy-volt-owners-average-1-000-miles-between-fill-ups-in-march/
      • 4 Years Ago
      Time to can O'Donnell. BMW needs to keep its image as an innovator. O'Donnell's not helping.
      Duncan Watson
      • 4 Years Ago
      Unsurprisingly this is someone who hasn't bother to read usage studies. Any time I hear 90% in a statistic I know the thought behind it is BS and compeletly made up.
      EVdriver
      • 4 Years Ago
      Here we go again. Just the usual EV FUD from the germans. They still try to push their way too obsolete, polluting diesel technology. No, thanks.
      • 4 Years Ago
      What a surprise, head of a premium high end ICE vehicle manufacturer that has been reluctantly late for any change from their basic ICE oil / gasoline burning way of doing things - tells us EV's just won't work for most people - doesn't want the government getting EV's going - i.e. just wants to keep things the way they are. With his market, he can afford to sit on the side for the most part and wait for the EV market to grow.
      Chad Schwitters
      • 4 Years Ago
      I have sympathy for the argument that the government should place bets on technologies. But why do people complain about EV subsidies, but not petroleum, hydrogen, biodiesel, and ethanol subsidies--which all (maybe this recently changed for a couple of them) at least used to be much larger than anything being spent on EVs? This is an indictment of how our government works, but no argument against EVs. And his quote about EVs not working because of range is just silly. 60% of US households have multiple cars AND a garage. There is no reason they can't replace one car with a BEV. And for that matter, the US subsidies and infrastructure are meant for PHEVs too. There is no range restriction on PHEVs. If he thinks his company can make more money on diesels, fine, his company should build them. But there's no reason to make such claims about plug-in vehicles. (Well, I can think of one reason, but it's self-serving).
        Chad Schwitters
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Chad Schwitters
        Argh. I meant "should NOT place bets".
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Chad Schwitters
        Chad, don't worry about O'Donnell. His bosses at BMW don't share his low opinion of EV's and they are the ones that make the decisions. O'Donnell is just the North American figure head, he has no ability to control his product line, he just takes what they give him and he wants more diesels. He's poking a hornets with these comments though, and I wouldn't be surprised if you hear about him getting reprimanded or even replaced over this. The Board back in Germany isn't happy about this....
      Rotation
      • 4 Years Ago
      Should bother googling for this guy's complaints when you could get thousands of dollars in government rebates on a BMW X5d or 335d a few years ago (reduced rebates were available up until 5 months ago)?
      ManOnFire
      • 4 Years Ago
      He's absolutely right. Electric vehicle's just won't work for most people with present day technology. Maybe it will be a different story in another 50 years.
      Marcopolo
      • 4 Years Ago
      I agree, absolutely! , " abolish all tax credits." Ah....that would include all subsidies and concessions paid to the oil industry right? Also level the correct amount of duty to offset the increase in national debt created by the importation of oil.? What's that? Having difficulties selling BMW diesels at $9.12 + per gal? Well sorry, you would appear to have a bit of a range problem. No one can afford to go very far in your oil burner! What's that ? Outrageous ? Really? Well maybe you can tell us the price of Diesel in Germany, UK or any other industrialised county! Subsidies are better than punitive taxes! (carrots are better than sticks).
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Marcopolo
        If you don't raise ridiculous taxes on businesses to start with, prices don't have to go beyond the means of your customer base.
          Marcopolo
          • 4 Years Ago
          How do you pay subsidies without a tax base? How do you provide all those 'overlooked' government services without a tax base? like you I'm cautious of social engineering by tax, but if you want a level playing field, you must be prepared for unforeseen consequences.
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